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The Start Fund: Value and Uniqueness

Date added

09 August 2021


The Start Fund is the first multi-donor pooled humanitarian funding mechanism, managed exclusively by international and national non-governmental organisations (INGOs/NNGOs). As its membership has expanded, the frequency of alerts has risen, tools and systems have improved, governance has been restructured, and evidence and learning pro-cesses have been strengthened. In its sixth year of operation, by August 2020 the Start Fund had awarded over £71m and demand was seen to be at an all-time high. Past independent evaluations of the Start Fund and its performance have concluded that it is a successful and unique funding mechanism that has added significant value to, and has great potential to reform, the humanitarian financing system.

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This research piece provides a broad overview of global humanitarian funding mechanisms and landscapes with a focus on six countries: Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), El Salvador, Pakistan, the Philippines, South Sudan and Yemen. The report also assesses the value and uniqueness of the Start Fund and puts forward recommendations as to how these attributes can be further optimised for the future. The research was carried out by a team of eight researchers from February to April 2021 through a document review, utilising existing monitoring data and 119 interviews with Start Network members, partners, donors and other stakeholders within the humanitarian sector.

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